Elizabeth Madeira

On Friday, state Rep. Glen Casada made several comments to the Home Page regarding his opposition to expanding Medicaid in Tennessee, as well as his support for the Education Savings Account Pilot Program, also known as the school voucher program.

On Monday, Casada’s Democratic challenger, Elizabeth Madeira, fired back on some of those comments.

Background

Casada represents Tennessee’s 63rd District - which encompasses the eastern portion of Williamson County - in the state House of Representatives, a seat he has held since 2003. Casada briefly held the role of House Speaker in 2019 before resigning amid a texting scandal involving his former Chief of Staff Cade Cothren.

A resident of Franklin, Madeira is a teacher and mother of three who launched her political aspirations after the 2016 election, volunteering for multiple Democratic candidates in Williamson County during the 2018 midterms. Madeira would later go on to volunteer for then-Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg in all of Tennessee’s 95 counties until he suspended his campaign in support of former Vice President Joe Biden, who has since become the presumptive Democratic nominee.

Medicaid expansion

On Friday, Casada told the Home Page that he was “strongly” opposed to expanding Medicaid, arguing that the cost burden of doing so would ultimately be passed onto taxpayers.

Madeira pushed back on Casada’s position on Medicaid expansion, arguing that especially during a health and economic pandemic, Medicaid expansion was more important now than ever.

“Medicaid expansion makes health insurance more affordable for Tennesseans, and states that expanded Medicaid saw neutral or positive effects on their state budgets,” Madeira said in a statement. 

“As Glen’s Republican colleague, former Ohio governor John Kasich, said of uninsured Americans, ‘If they don't get coverage, they end up in the emergency room, they end up sicker, more expensive. I mean, we pay one way or the other.’ Through no fault of their own, more than 500,000 Tennesseans lost their jobs and possibly their health insurance because of COVID-19. Still, Glen is focused not on helping people, but helping himself and his special interest friends.”

School voucher program

The school voucher program allows for eligible families to send their children to private schools using public funds, at just over $7,000 per student. While the program has drawn a slew of criticisms for its diversion of tax dollars away from public schools, Casada defended the program as a lifeline to many Tennessee children trapped in “failing and dangerous” schools.

Drawing on her experience as a teacher, Madeira accused Casada of “trying to sell out Williamson County’s public schools,” and was harshly critical of his continued support of the program.

“I’m sick and tired of politicians thinking they know better than educators on how to improve education,” Madeira said in a statement.

“When it comes to education we need teachers to call the shots - not politicians. It is a sign of his devotion to special interests over constituents that Glen is still trying to sell out Williamson County’s world-class public schools, even after the multiple judges put a stop to the voucher program. Glen should abandon this voucher vanity project and focus on moving forward to help Tennesseans recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Williamson County voters will have their opportunity to cast their ballots for who they would like to see represent Tennessee’s 63rd District on Tuesday, November 3. Candidates include Casada R-Franklin, Madeira D-Franklin, and Bradley Fiscus I-Franklin. To register to vote online, click here.